Well, that didn’t go as planned.
Let me preface everything I’m about to say with the fact that the Literary track was very well organized and most of my panels were excellent. Stephen Zimmer did a great job with the hand he was dealt, even with more duties dumped in his lap than he had agreed to. He was only supposed to be in charge of the literary side of things and ended up running the Dealers’ Room, the Gaming Room, Security, and the Literary Track. If he had had time to plan for all of those responsibilities, everything would’ve been fine, but he didn’t find out until Thursday night.
The first negative thing that happened was Friday night at 10:00. I went to look at the Dealers’ Room and found Stephen and a friend feverishly setting up chairs. I noticed how frazzled they looked and offered to pitch in. We spent the next hour carrying chairs to each table and getting the room ready. When we finished, Stephen asked me if I would represent the Literary Track on a TV interview. The catch was that it was at 5:15 Friday morning. I went across the street to talk to one of the main organizers of the show, and she told me that no one else wanted to do it that early and that it would be recorded and replayed throughout the day, so I agreed.
The next morning, after about three hours of sleep, I staggered downstairs to find two other people there for the interview. I ended up getting 15 seconds to promote the Literary Track. When I went back upstairs to watch the replay, I found out that it had been a live feed and wasn’t replayed at all. That was pretty disappointing, to say the least.
Around 1:00, we went to our table to begin selling books. Anyone there can attest, it was pushing 100 degrees in the Dealers’ Room. Now, Louisville was experiencing a heat wave, and no one can control the weather, but the hotel seemed unconcerned with the miserable conditions in the space. In fact, they provided the worst convention support I’ve ever experienced. They didn’t provide us with water and didn’t help with the heat issues. I’ll never return to Fern Valley Hotel for any reason. Needless to say, I didn’t sell a single book on Friday during SweatFest.
On Saturday, the convention organizers had brought in extra fans, so it was a little cooler. Sales were modest on our side, but my biggest complaint with the show was that both of the big name guests, Henry Winkler and John Carpenter, were across the street in the other building. I believe one should have been at each location to equalize foot traffic. Instead, while 5,000 people filed through the other building and dealers’ room, our side got maybe 1,500. And if one of the stars had been on our side, something more might have been done to fix the cooling issues.
On a positive note, the Literary Panels were excellent, for the most part. Much thought and consideration went into the lineups, and most of my panels were well-attended. We had some good discussions about the craft of writing, and I learned a lot from my fellow writers.
Overall, that’s not what I had envisioned for Third Axe’s swan song, but that’s life. It’s now time to turn my attention to the future with Seventh Star Press. Cover art for book three is underway, and it should be available soon. Then, books one and two will be re-released with new covers as well. It’s an exciting time, and I can’t wait to get back to work on book four.